Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians
Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

About the Unit


Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) was originally the Parliamentary Unit of Oakland. In May, 1990, the name was changed to honor Mary Louise Saks, founder and longtime supporter of the unit. The Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians (MSAP) recognized LSPU as NAP unit of the year in Michigan for 2003-2007 and for 2009. In 2011 the unit was awarded national 3rd place for Unit Educational Opportunities. 
LSPU offers an annual community workshop in April.
Check the MSAP website for information.


Visit Us Via Social Media on the Internet
Website:  http://lspunit.wordpress.com/      
Facebook:  facebook.com/LSPUMichigan       
Visitors are always welcome! 
  • The third Tuesday of each month

  • September through May

  • 9:30 to noon 

  • Platform and Locations: All meetings are held on the Zoom platform except for the December and May meetings, which are held in person at locations to be determined.

  • https://lspunit.wordpress.com


An education program opens each meeting, followed by a recess.
The business meeting begins at 11 a.m. and usually finishes by noon.


Every month, the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit offers its members and guests an opportunity to be refreshed about a particular topic or to learn how to accomplish the action that is new to the group or to individuals.  All levels of expertise are welcome at our meetings.
For information about parliamentarians located in and
serving the greater Oakland County area contact us today!


LSPU Update

March 21, 2023


Show Me the Money was the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) lesson on March 21, 2023 with Presenter Dorothea Martin showing how to be the treasurer of an organization. She outlined best practices for serving as a treasurer in non-profit and non-public groups.


Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) includes the treasurer’s work in the section related to officer duties and reports. Presenter Martin who has served as a treasurer and an auditor led participants through the responsibilities of a treasurer as outlined in RONR. A treasurer who by definition is entrusted with the custody of the organization’s funds can only disburse funds by the authority of the bylaws or upon direction of the organization.


Additionally, a treasurer needs to report to the organization, at a minimum, annually, though many groups hear monthly reports including a simple statement of the beginning balance, receipts, disbursements, and a closing balance. An organization may hire a treasurer when there are multiple accounts along with investments. 


Financial records are audited or reviewed on a regular basis and the report of the auditor is the only financial report that is adopted by the organization. Monthly treasurer’s reports are not adopted.


Some organizations have financial secretaries to collect dues and assessments and then turn over receipts to the treasurer. It can be useful to have some basic financial policies such as desirable level of risk in investing, amount of money to keep in liquid accounts, and basic costs the organization will cover.


In small organizations treasurers don’t need to be accountants, but handling a calculator or doing basic arithmetic is essential along with an attention to detail and orderliness in keeping simple accounts. 


LSPU meets the third Tuesday morning of each month. Guests are always welcome and encouraged to ask question and contribute to discussion.



LSPU Meeting 

Lesson and Highlights

March 15, 2022


A March Through the Incidentals was the lesson for the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) on March 15. Participants were led through an exploration of incidental motions by Marianne Grano, National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) member.


What are Incidental Motions?

Incidental motions are incidental to the business that is taking place during a meeting. In other words, an incidental motion does not bring an item of business to the floor but it does affect how an item of business is being processed.


Some Examples

Your club is debating a motion to have a spring fling dinner-dance. A number of members are speaking, some wanting to have a spring fling, and others opposing it. According to club rules every member is allowed to speak twice for two minutes each time. Laisha rises to speak a third time and the presiding officer is letting her talk and talk. As Laisha continues, you call out “Point of Order!” and when the presiding officer asks why, you remind her of the two times speaking rule. The presiding officer says, “Your point is well taken. Laisha, please take your seat.”


Or, maybe you want to read a letter from a member who resigned because the club never did anything fun. You can’t just read something without requesting permission. When you rise to speak you make a request to read a letter and the club allows it.


Or, you make a motion to suspend the rules so everybody can speak for five, instead of two, minutes. Or, if the vote is being taken and the presiding officer says it passes, but you doubt it, you call out “Division!” and there is now a vote when people in favor standing and when people opposed also stand so it’s clear if the vote passed or failed.


There are Lots of Incidental Motions

All of them can be aids in having a fair meeting as well as protecting members’ rights and the club’s efficient use of meeting time. Generally, these are not debatable motions and some may, if necessary, actually interrupt a speaker. There’s even a motion that allows a member to find out what motion to use! It’s called a parliamentary inquiry and is a way to ask the presiding officer about the motion to use or any other parliamentary action can be taken.


Always More to Learn

While the March Through the Incidentals offered an overall picture of these important motions in coming lessons we will consider a few in detail.  On the third Tuesday of April (19th) at 9:30 am we will study Create and Fill a Blank, a particularly helpful incidental motion. Guests are always welcome at our virtual LSPU meetings. For details please contact michiganparliamentarians@gmail.com. 



LSPU Meeting 

Lesson and Highlights

February 16, 2021



Presenters Dianne Bostic Robinson and Joan C. Price, PRP engaged the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit in a discussion about the order of business. As usual, there was more to learn about this meeting basic. 


An agenda (program, order of business) is the plan for a meeting that shows the order of activities from the Call to Order to Adjournment. It may be an annotated list with names beside items or it may be a rough outline without notes. People who preside at meetings sometimes do scripted agendas that include everything they will say as well as what others will be presenting.


  • Does a club have to have an agenda?

It’s a good practice for every participant to have a written agenda (not the scripted one) so everybody knows in what order items will appear. If a presider inadvertently skips an item, other participants can draw it to the presider’s attention. It’s helpful for participants who are going to make motions to see the entire meeting plan to know when the best time will be to introduce a new topic.


  • Our club doesn’t have an agenda but we get by. 

Organizations sometimes have a standard order of business that seldom varies, so members can get by without a fresh agenda at each meeting. But, the person presiding must prepare an agenda (if only in their head) before the meeting.  For many presiding officers, writing the agenda is crucial in preparation.


  • What about putting down times for things to occur in a meeting?  

It depends on the complexity of the entire program.  For example, it’s essential for multi-day meetings like conventions to establish the length of individual meetings. A convention closing time is inflexible either because a meeting room is unavailabile (at any cost) or because participants must leave to return home. 


Times on an agenda can be guidelines or times may be set when adopting the agenda. Setting times as guidelines offers the most flexibility. But if there is specific business that must happen at an already established time, you cannot be flexible.


  • Should we adopt an agenda?

In most volunteer groups it isn’t necessary to adopt an agenda unless the order of business itself is be controversial. When an agenda is adopted at the beginning of a meeting it can be changed only by suspending the rules or amending the agenda by a two-thirds vote. One very helpful practice in lieu of adopting the agenda is to review it and invite participants to add any additional items. In multi-day meetings adopting an agenda (or program) is a necessary step in opening a meeting.


  • What’s new about agendas?

Unless you are part of an organization that has its order of business in the bylaws so it can’t be changed easily you can create your own particular agenda. 


Some groups have discovered that if there’s a BIG thing to discuss and you expect/want a lot of debate, doing that item early in a meeting can be helpful. People are alert, not yet watching the clock; they may be in good humor after a congenial meal; the presiding officer is on her/his toes; the topic will get its due consideration.


On the other hand, putting an important item first may delay ordinary business to a late hour so that the hall empties, leaving too few people present to continue. And sometimes, you don’t want to give a lot of time and energy to a topic. An early-in-the-meeting item can get bogged down with minutiae.


The agenda is a tool for planning and carrying out a successful meeting. It needs to follow a reasonable order but you can alter it for your purposes. For an excellent discussion of the order of business, see Section 41 in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, the 12th edition. Or, for a quick look at meeting order and the right words for the presider to say, see Appendix C in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief. Both are available from parliamentarians.org.


The Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) welcomes guests to its monthly meetings that take place via Zoom on the third Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. from September to May. Contact Dot Martin at 586-482-7150 for a personal Zoom invitation. The March lesson will be “Handling Motions.”

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

 Meeting Highlights

November 17, 2020

Dilatory and Improper Motions

Is an inappropriate motion introduced in a meeting “naughty”? Is the handling of the motion by the presiding officer “nice”? Should it be? Does its disposition require clairvoyance by the presiding officer?

Those were some of the concepts explored by LSPU members during the virtual lesson presented on November 17, 2020 by Barbara Bonsignore, PRP, and Shelagh VanderVeen.

A motion is deemed dilatory if it seeks to obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly. In addition, any main or other motion that is frivolous or absurd or that contains no rational reason for being, is considered dilatory and cannot be introduced, according to RONR 12th edition 39:1-7.

For example, it is dilatory:

  • to obstruct business by appealing from a ruling of the chair on a question about which there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions,
  • to demand a division on a vote even when there has been a full vote and the result is clear,
  • to move to lay on the table the matter for which a special meeting has been called,
  • to constantly raise points of order and appeal from the chair’s decision on them, or
  • to move to adjourn again and again when nothing has happened to justify renewal of such a motion.

What recourse does a presiding officer have if a member attempts to introduce a dilatory motion?


1.  The presiding officer can either not recognize the member, according to RONR 12th edition 39:4; or

2.  Rule that such a motion is not in order, being careful to emphasize it is the motion that is out of order, not the member.

What are Improper Motions?

  • Motions that conflict with the corporate charter, constitution or bylaws of a society, or with procedural rules prescribed by national, state, or local laws, are out of order. If a motion of this kind is adopted, it is null and void. (RONR 12th Edition 39:5);
  • Motions that conflict with a motion previously adopted by the society that has not been rescinded, nor reconsidered and rejected after adoption;
  • Motions that present practically the same motion as one previously decided at the same session;
  • Motions that conflict with, or present practically the same question, as one still within the control of the assembly that has not been finally disposed of;
  • No motion can be introduced that is outside the object of the society or the assembly as defined in the bylaws, unless by a two-thirds vote the body agrees to its consideration;
  • A motion must not use language that reflects on a member’s conduct or character or is otherwise discourteous. The exception might be in the case of a motion to censure a member or a motion related to disciplinary procedures such as those detailed in Chapter XX of RONR, entitled Disciplinary Procedures on page 608.

These examples of improper motions provided an introduction to the extensive implications of their use and misuse that can be found throughout RONR 12th edition.

The Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) is meeting virtually the third Tuesday morning of the month at 9:30 a.m. Guests are welcome to all our meetings, where you are encouraged to participate in a lesson, and meet other parliamentarians. Since we are meeting virtually please send us a request so we can welcome you to our meeting room.

If you want to attend a meeting, or if you want to learn more about Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised and how you can have better meetings, contact us. Our next meeting will be December 15, 2020. The meeting will be on the topic “Previous Question.”


February 2020


Here’s a couple of motions that can help an organization change its mind.  These relatively uncommon motions are two of the “Bring Back” motions.


            Amend Something Previously Adopted.


By the way, the other “Bring Back” motions are Reconsider, and Discharge a Committee; these have unique characteristics and can be helpful when an organization wants to undo or do-over.


Presenters May Ann Rosenberger and Joan C. Price, PRP,  focused on Rescind and Amend Something Previously Adopted that can applied to anything (bylaw, rule, policy, decision) that has continuing force and was made by adopting a motion.  


For example, Club Z voted in February 2019 at its regular monthly meeting to quit having meeting refreshments; it was then the Club’s policy as stated in the Standing Rules.  Member Susan misses the morning snack (though she never signed up to bring a treat) and moves to rescind the vote that ended meeting refreshments.  The motion to rescind the refreshments decision is seconded, debated, amended, and when the vote is taken the motion to rescind is lost and the early 2019 motion is retained.  The question was on rescinding the earlier decision and the noes had it. Club Z would continue without morning refreshments.


On the other hand, Club Z might have adopted the motion to rescind the refreshment decision and would return to having morning snacks.  Strategically, it can be risky to move to rescind because it opens the entire previous motion to debate.


Member Susan could have also moved to Amend Something Previously Adopted by amending the no refreshments policy with a change that would have permitted beverages, refreshments on special days, or other options.  


The motion to rescind can be useful when new information emerges.  At its last meeting Club Z moved to purchase a hand-crafted portable podium at a cost not to exceed $1,000.  Nobody began podium shopping and during the treasurer’s report, Club Z learned that the Club had received only five member dues for the year.  Any expenditure is beyond the Club’s means.  Member Susan, now an expert in rescinding, moves to rescind the motion to purchase a hand-crafted portable podium for not more than $1,000.  The motion to rescind is readily adopted and the purchase will not be made at this time.  On the other hand, if the portable podium had been purchased, the motion authorizing it could not be rescinded.


Presenters Rosenberger and Price emphasized an important characteristic  of rescinding in a short skit, the need for a two-thirds vote when no notice of the motion has been given.   If notice is given that a motion to rescind is going to be made at the next meeting, the vote required is a majority.  However, if no notice is given motions to Rescind and Amend Something Previously Adopted they two-thirds vote because they undo a decision the assembly had made.  Neither of Club Z’s motions to rescind had been noticed so they required a two-thirds vote, a vote accomplished by members rising and being counted.


While you may seldom use Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted, these are two useful Bring Back motions for particular situations.  A more advanced lesson on the Bring Back motion Reconsider will be offered to all Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians (MSAP) members at its upcoming annual meeting.  If you are interested in going beyond the basics contact us for more information on parliamentary procedures lessons available through MSAP and through the National Association of Parliamentarians at parliamentarians.org.


October 15, 2019


Resolutions and Platforms


"A resolution is a main motion dressed up for a formal occasion.”  In other words, when you need a motion that is suitable for an important item of business, or when you make a motion that is long and complex, a resolutionis the main motion to use.


Consider the action you are proposing, just as you do for any motion, and add additional touches.  A preamble or the whereas clauses,while not necessary can be useful to provide a rationale for the entire resolution.


Presenters Beth Delaney and Ruth Schluchter outlined the creation of a resolution and showed us examples of formal resolutions.  Here’s a simple resolution without a preamble:


            Resolved,  That the Garden Gnome Society adopt a mascot for all publicity purposes. 


Or, a resolution about the same topic can include a preamble and looks like this:


            Whereas, The Garden Gnome Society lacks a consistent logo to identify its activities;


            Whereas, There are a variety of garden gnomes that could be suitable identification; and


            Whereas, The Garden Gnome Society wants to promote the use of garden gnomes in correspondence and publicity; therefore be it


            Resolved, That the Garden Gnome Society adopt a mascot for all publicity purposes.



platform is a series of resolution-like statements expressing as group’s views, aims, and aspirations.  


You may have noticed that there is a particular format for resolutions.  For any resolutionit’s useful to see examples in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised(11th edition) on pages 105-110 where all the punctuation, capitalization, font rules, as well as how to process a resolutionduring a meeting can be found.  


So, don’t be daunted; when the occasion requires a formal proposal create a special main motion, a resolution.


On November 19, the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit will be meeting again at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, 1669 West Maple, at 9:30.  We will be looking at a unique set of motions, those that can interrupt a person speaking, if urgency requires it.  Guests are always welcome.


September, 2019


The first Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit meeting of the year began with an educational lesson on the basics:

"How Decisions are Made"


Leaders Joan Heinicke and Gretchen Denton outlined the process of making main motions, the way that all business comes before an assembly.  In a meeting one does not begin just talking about an idea, but one begins by making a motion and then the talking (debate) takes place.  


There is special language to use that is:  “I move that…” or “I move to…”  After a second by another member the person chairing the meeting states the motion and discussion begins in an orderly way.  It would work like this: a member of the assembly obtains the floor by rising and when recognized states the motion such as “I move that  we sponsor a student rally for climate change on September 20.”


After thorough debate on the merits of the idea, the Chair puts the question and members vote in favor by saying “aye” or opposed by saying “no.”  Along the way there can be amendments made to the main motion; it may be referred to a special committee: it may be postponed until the next meeting, but in the end the group has made a decision and then proceeds to implement the motion.


A couple of questions came up in this lesson:

  •         Does a “second” mean that I support the motion? No, a second is a way of saying that you would like the question discussed and it does not mean that you support the motion.


  •         Can you give your speaking time to another member? While we often hear in political circles, “I yield the floor to…from the great state of Michigan.” it doesn’t happen in a meeting run by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.  Only the Chair can decide who will have the floor to speak.


  •         When can I make a main motion in a meeting? The time when motions are made and debated usually happens during New Business.  However, main motions from committees may take place during Committee Reports.


The information for this lesson came from Robert’s Rules of Order in Brief.  I highly recommend it as a way to learn basic parliamentary procedure AND it’s a way to learn so you can be a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) at www.parliamentarians.org. While at that website, go to the online store where you can get your own In Brief.


Our next meeting will be October 15, 2019, the first Tuesday of the month at the First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham.  Guests are always welcome to our program and meeting that is over by noon.  The next lesson is Writing Resolutions and Platforms.


April 16, 2019


Life of a Secretary/Taking Minutes


Though there’s much more in the life of a secretary, the key responsibility for any secretary is writing meeting minutes.  Presenters Shelagh VanderVeen and Mary Ann Rosenberger offered  ways of preparing meeting minutes that are painless and can be done relatively easy.


Sometimes people think that the secretary has to write the Great American Novel.  Not so!

In fact, simple sentences in minutes are far better than any clever writing.  And what is placed in minutes is nota transcript of what is said in the meeting, but statements of what was donein the meeting.  What is donein a meeting includes motions being made and whether they are adopted or not.  It is unwise to include what is said in meetings because minutes can be used in a court of law and many of us do not want our statements open to public scrutiny.


As a way of facilitating the preparation of minutes is to plan an orderly way of noting what is done during a meeting.  The best way to do that is with a template that has the major parts of a meeting listed. At the time of the meeting the secretary simply fills in the blanks so he has the necessary details.  Here’s some major items that you might include in a template along with spaces for filling in the answers:


            Kind of meeting?

            Place/Date/Time of Beginning of meeting?


            Is secretary present?

            Officer reports with officers listed in order as they appear in the bylaws

            Standing committee reports, again in order as they appear in the bylaws

            Special committee reports

            Unfinished business

            New business


            Time meeting is adjourned


Another useful tool for the secretary is a thorough agenda.  Along with the template one can be assured of covering all the business transacted.


In order to get the new business correct and remember, new business happens by motions, motion forms can be very useful.  They can be purchased at the online NAP store  (www.parliamentarians.org) and in one step create four copies! Having members write their motions helps clarify the content of the business and is a great aid to any secretary—and presiding officer.


One more hint for all budding secretaries—Do the Minutes as Soon as You Can.  Even the sharpest details can grow fuzzy if you wait to write the minutes just before the next meeting.  Set aside a time as soon as you can to write the minutes and send them to the president so she can follow through on assignments made at the meeting.

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

March 19, 2019

Meeting Summary


Are meeting rules of order related to speaking privileges the same as the Freedom of Speech guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?  Short answer is “no” but presenters Stefanie Lewis and Karen Clemmons-Lloyd at the most recent meeting of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) guided us through a historical view of the need for rules when everyone has something important to say.


An important principle of Robert’s Rules of Order (RONR) is the one item of business at a time and one person speaking at a time.  If you’ve been part of a lively conversation that isn’t a meeting, you know how challenging it can be to listen when more than one person is speaking or when there are side conversations that you want to hear.


In meetings, the one person speaking at a time is even more important; RONR offers rules that may seem overly formal, but if the meeting is contentious at all, following rules means it’s fair to everybody.  Let’s consider a few of the rules.


            Before a member in a meeting can speak, she must claim the floor by rising and addressing the chair.  In small bodies, there’s less need to rise and the chair may simply nod to a person to “give her the floor.”  A chair mustrecognize any member who seeks the floor and is entitled to it.


            What happens when two people ( or more!) want to speak at once?  Generally, the member who rose and addressed the chair first after the floor was yielded, is given the floor.  It does a member no good to stand up before the floor is yielded.  An exception to this practice is that in some organizations any member who wishes to speak has to go to a microphone and stand while waiting. Still the member has to address the chair and receive permission to speak.


            If a member has made a motion and then been seated before speaking further (following the rules exactly right) the chair calls on the person who made the motion to be the first speaker even if somebody else is eager to debate.


            No member is entitled to speak a second time as long as any member who has not spoken yet claims the floor.  RONR allows a person to speak twice assuming everybody has spoken. The length of time may surprise you. RONR allows a person to speak ten minutes!  However, most organizations have special rules that limit the speaking time to under ten minutes.


Do members have freedom of speech in meetings?  Yes, every person who is a member can debate, but that speaking follows a prescribed rule of order either according to RONR or according to rules an organization adopts.


In April, LSPU will be meeting on the 16th at 9:30.  The meetings are held in the First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple in Birmingham, and visitors are always welcome for the study lesson and for the business meeting where we practice what we are studying.  The lesson will be Life of a Secretary/Taking Minutes. You’ll find out it’s easier than you think!




Unit Past President Barbara Bonsignore and NAP District 4 Regional Director Joyce Brown-Watkins, PRP, at September 16 Meeting

Program Highlights from 2015-2016

May 16, 2015 - Dissolution of a Society

It can happen. A club that was going strong and saving the world fifteen years ago can hardly get a quorum for meetings. An issue was so very important is being managed in a new way. Planting flowers in the park is now being done by the city.

When an organization is no longer important or it can no longer attract members, money or leadership it may be time to make a decision about the organization’s future. While there may be various options, sometimes it’s time to dissolve the society.

If the society is not incorporated and has no assets, it’s relatively easy to accomplish dissolution. The society gives notice to its members just as if they were going to amend the bylaws and then takes a vote at a meeting called especially for that purpose or at a regular meeting. Some organizations have provisions in the bylaws for dissolution; in that case you would follow those and distribute the assets as outlined.

If the society is incorporated it’s a little more complicated because you then need to fill out state forms where you are incorporated. A 501c(3) organization must be sure to assign its assets to another 501c(3) organization. Obviously all bills must be paid and previous commitments need to be fulfilled.

Again, you follow the bylaw provisions for amending bylaws or, if there is a clause for dissolution it needs to be followed. Especially with an organization that is incorporated it is good to ask an attorney how to proceed to dissolve. Assets, including endowment funds, must be properly disposed of in accordance with bylaws and state law.

During its last two years the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) created a fake unincorporated society called The Garden Gnome Society. Alas, it’s served its purpose as a learning tool. With a mixture of sadness and joy, the members dissolved The Garden Gnome Society by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at the May 17, 2016 annual meeting, grateful for the pleasure of enjoying those strange little characters every month.


Beginning in September LSPU will continue its monthly meetings the third Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham, Michigan. In the coming year our lesson topics will all be By the Book—Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) Of Course! The September 20 topic will be the Order of Business. Guests are always welcome

March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting


What’s a privileged motion?


At its recent meeting, members of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit, thoughtfully considered the nature of all privileged motions and the specific characteristics that affect a meeting’s flow.

What is a privileged motion? It is a special kind of motion that deals with privileges of the assembly and privileges of individuals in a meeting, special matters of immediate importance. Because they are of immediate importance, none of the privileged motions offer an opportunity for debate.

There are five privileged motions and while they do not directly relate to the pending motion of the floor, they do have a ranked order with their order as follows:

Call for the Orders of the Day Raise a Question of Privilege Recess

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.

With their ranked order it would not be in order to call for the orders of the day when the motion to recess is pending. But, it would be in order to move to recess while the lower ranking call for the orders of the day is pending.

Each has a particular description related to the matter of privilege.

Call for the Orders of the Day makes the assembly conform to the agenda or order of business and is stated, “I call for the orders of the day.” The presiding officer then goes immediately to what is supposed to be on the agenda at this time unless she/he senses that the assembly wants to complete the present business. Then, he/she takes a vote to set aside the orders of the day. It takes a 2/3 vote to set aside the orders of the day.

Raise a Question of Privilege permits a member to make a request related to the rights and privileges of the assembly or an individual. For example, a member may raise a question of privilege if the member cannot hear the speaker by saying, “I rise to a question of personal privilege; I cannot hear the speaker.”

Recess allows the assembly to take a short intermission and, upon returning, resume the business at hand. While it’s not debatable, the motion to recess is amendable related to the length of time of the recess. “I move to take a (set the amount of time) recess.” The motion requires as second and a majority adopts.

Adjourn is a motion that ends the meeting immediately while business is still pending. “I move to adjourn.” is the statement. It requires a second, a majority vote to approve, and, like all privileged motions, is not debatable.

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is seldom encountered but it can be very useful when it becomes apparent that the assembly cannot complete business that must be accomplished at a specific meeting. The motion sets a later time to continue the current meeting before the next regular meeting. Here is how it is stated, “I fix the time to which to adjourn to 7 PM tomorrow at our present location.” If the undebatable motion is adopted the meeting will continue at 7 PM

tomorrow at the same location. This motion has nothing to do with setting the time that the present meeting will end; it relates only to continuing the meeting at a later time and place.

Presenters Vesta DeRiso and Eleanor Siewert followed these descriptors with some scripted examples of how and when the privileged motions might be used. Nearly everyone recalled a time when such privileged motions were used and many began to consider situations where using a privileged motion would have improved the meeting’s comfort or flow. This lesson surely offered all the chance to look for such opportunities in the future and to have the skill to use privileged motions.


The next Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit meeting will be April 19, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, MI located at 1669 West Maple Road. As usual the meeting will begin promptly at 9:30 with the education lesson followed by the unit’s business meeting concluding by noon.

Guests and visitors are always welcome to discover how much fun it can be to study and learn together in a congenial, accepting atmosphere.



40 Years and Counting...

This year the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) celebrates its 40th anniversary as an organization offering leadership and education in parliamentary procedure. In 1975 we began serving the community, teaching how to have effective meetings where work is accomplished and all can participate following the guidance of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.

In its early years LSPU was the Oakland County Parliamentary Unit, but upon the death of its founder Louise Saks, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, who brought people together to study and then practice parliamentary procedure in various organizations, the Unit was renamed to honor Ms. Saks’ legacy. Now, members come from all around southeast Michigan, meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.


LSPU is one of six parliamentary units in Michigan, all of them dedicated to educating members and the communities they serve in using Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised to accomplish organizations’ purposes.


March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting


Annual Workshop - April 16, 2016

Save the date for the annual LSPU parliamentary workshop! This workshop comes with a guarantee; you will learn something new. Forty years and the still going strong... 



Here is what happened at the October 2015 Meeting...


When an assembly gets bogged down in the details of a proposed motion or when it appears that more information is needed so people can make an informed decision, it’s a good time to Refer or Commit the motion to a committee.  The October 20 lesson presented by Deb Davis and Terrien Bell showed members of the Louise Saks Unit how to do that correctly.  As usual, the imaginary Garden Gnome Society served as the organization that had to make a decision on a proposed motion “to have a gnome mascot.”


The question of having a mascot was referred to a special committee after considerable discussion about the type of mascot needed or if the society needed a mascot at all.  

“After all,” one member argued, “ a garden gnome image exists in our hearts and there is no need to select one particular gnome, male or female, to represent the society.”

Since there were widely-divergent views and numerous options, the entire motion was referred to a committee who will report in November with their recommendation.



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2023-2025 Biennium Meeting Schedule

Until further notice, all MSAP board meeting will be video conference meetings

Meeting time will be 10:00 AM

Educational lesson will follow the board meeting and the president is committed to a 1:00 p.m. adjournment. 


June 17, 2023

October 21, 2023

January 20, 2024

April (Annual Meeting) 2024

June, 2024

October, 2024

January, 2025

April (Annual Meeting) 2025


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